Wallace Farm opens Davie site

Published 11:14 am Friday, January 15, 2016

Go green. Reduce, reuse, recycle. Reduce your carbon footprint.

These buzzwords are becoming a greater reality in Davie County thanks to Wallace Farm, which has operated a compost facility in Mecklenburg County since the 1960s, and recently opened a second facility in Davie County.

“Local governments, businesses, and the public have become aware of the importance of recycling local materials to protect the environment, to reduce the need for landfill space and to avoid wasting material that can be reused,” said Eric Wallace, whose family has for generations operated the Wallace Farm compost facility in Huntersville.

“There is a growing demand for compost, both from the folks who supply us with the raw materials and from retailers and consumers who use the finished products. When we decided to open a second facility to meet the demand, we found the perfect site in Davie.”

Wallace had been searching for a site for eight years, and had considered property in Rowan, Iredell, Yadkin, Davidson, Forsyth, and Rockingham counties.

“I felt called to come this direction and still feel that way,” Wallace said. “Once we reached out to the folks in economic development and met with Terry Bralley, and saw how things are done in Davie County, we knew we had found the perfect place. We wanted to go somewhere where we were wanted and accepted.”

Compost facilities take in organic waste materials, speed up the decomposition process, and convert the materials into a rich soil. Compost may be used as a soil amendment or blended with other products to make blended top soils, garden soils, and potting mixes.

At the new facility, Wallace Farm will process ground and un-ground yard waste, leaves, land clearing debris, sawdust, cotton, tobacco, animal manures, food-processing residuals, water treatment residuals, food waste, and other types of organic materials.

Wallace will be reaching out to municipalities, manufacturing facilities, food- processing facilities, businesses, and eventually the public seeking to have them dispose of organic waste materials at his facility rather than in a landfill.

Composting not only helps companies decrease the amount of waste they must dispose of, but also allows them to reduce their carbon footprint, or the sum of all emissions of greenhouse gases their activities produce.

The Davie facility opened in mid-November and has started receiving materials, including leaves from local municipalities.

The Davie facility is on 162 acres on Lee Jackson Drive in Advance, and employs five workers, four of whom are from Davie County. Wallace expects to employ as many as 10 workers in the first year as the facility becomes established, and then to grow the workforce from there.

The older facility in Mecklenburg County employs about 60 full-time workers who process roughly 100,000 tons of organic materials each year. The raw material is composted in windrows (8- by 16-foot rows that are turned by special machines) for several months before it becomes ready for market.

Much of the material processed at Huntersville finds its way into retail stores where it is sold to consumers as branded compost, soil, and mulch products. Wallace Farm has its own brands, but it packages its materials in specialty labels for large retailers.

Initially, the Davie facility will concentrate on bulk sales to landscapers, farm stores, landscape supply outlets, and the public, Wallace said. Once the operation is established, Wallace hopes to build a production facility much like the one in Mecklenburg, where materials will be packaged and made ready for market.

“Over the next few months, we’ll work on letting the public know that we are here and what kind of materials they too can bring here,” Wallace said. He encourages anyone who would like information about the new facility to call him at 704-875-2975, ext. 17, or to contact him through his email at eric@wallacefarmproducts.com.

“We are delighted that Wallace Farm chose to locate the company’s new facility in Davie County,” said Terry Bralley, president of Davie County Economic Development. “They provide a needed public service, help local companies build environmental sustainability, all while contributing jobs and tax base to the local economy. “That’s a great combination.”